Never too young for a money lesson

Life moments with special friends and my daughter

I recently attended a baby shower with my 8 year old daughter, Ella.  The shower was for a dear friend Candace who is having her first baby.  It was a lovely afternoon and we appropriately celebrated Candace embarking on the journey to motherhood.  Ella was incredibly well behaved and did a great job mingling with the guests and participating in the traditional baby shower games.  This reminded me of Ella’s first shower she attended with me when she was just 4 years old.

My best friend from college was having her first and it was an unusually hot day in San Francisco.  When we arrived at the house we had to go up a very long stair case and with the hot weather it was impossible not to break a small sweat.  Ella was not quite as well behaved at the age of 4 and became a little restless with the conversations and games.  The hostess had a daughter a few years older and recommended that Ella go in the back bedroom and play.

It was ideal, I was able to catch up with old friends, provide wisdom on motherhood as a seasoned mother of three and enjoy the celebration of watching someone I love being formally prepared for motherhood.

Are you sure you don’t have to go?

When it was time to leave Ella came out from the back rooms appearing a little fidgety.  As the seasoned mother of three children I asked Ella if she needed to use the restroom before we left.  She replied with a confident, “no I do not have to go potty.”  Still fidgeting I asked her again and reminded her that it was a long drive.  She assured me she did not have to go.  I hugged and kissed my girlfriend good-bye and thanked the hostess for opening up her lovely home.  Ella and I headed on the journey down the long stairs.  When we got to the bottom of the stairs, her fidgeting was now entirely too obvious.  My girlfriend and the hostess watched as I said to Ella (the seasoned patient parent of three), “Honey, now we have to go back upstairs, clearly you cannot make it all the way home.” She looked at me with frustration and stated, “Mommy I do not have to go.”

Importance of owning your mistakes

I opened the door to leave and as the door shut behind us I looked at Ella who I was now sure would have an accident on the sidewalk.  She then released her hands from her dress and about $8 in quarters fell to the ground.  At first I was confused and then of course asked, “Ella, where did the money come from?”  She then told me it was on a nightstand in one of the rooms and she took it.  I could not understand why my four year old would take money from someone’s house.  So I asked her “why?”  She emphatically said, “I NEED MONEY so I can buy stuff.”

I contemplated going straight to the car but in my heart knew Ella had to own up to her crime.  I rang the bell of the house and we walked back up the long steps and Ella had to return the money.  I will never forget the look on my girlfriend’s face and her definite shock that my 4 year old would do something like this.  Ella is one of the most joyful human beings I know so while she learned a lesson about not stealing and owning up to her mistakes, she found incredible pleasure when we got home telling her brother and sister about how she got in trouble.

Understanding the difference between needs versus wants

I thought about my Ella and how the role that I play as a parent to shape her character and how she views money.  I believe that our children are never too young for money lessons.  I’m glad for the resources that are available to help parents teach our kids about money and helping Ella understand the difference between needs versus wants.  Wells Fargo offers free financial education through our Hands on Banking® program, which features dedicated activities on this very topic.  I also hope that you will join us for Teen Financial Education Day this month on September 21 at your local neighborhood Wells Fargo store. I know I’ll be stopping by with my older kids! Check it out – you can even schedule the appointment online through Make an Appointment.

Lisa Stevens

About Lisa Stevens

Mother of three…devoted wife…spiritually centered…community minded…Wells Fargo veteran…passionate about helping moms take care of themselves financially. Raised by a devoted mother who continues to provide unconditional love and support, Lisa has been following in her mother’s path for the last 14 years as she raises a son and two daughters with her husband and best friend, Rob. How she responds to challenges at home and at work is a daily reflection exercise. She strives to use unexpected character-building moments to embrace her shortcomings and commit to learning and growing. As a community banking executive, Lisa likes to think of life’s journey as a series of deposits – freely giving of yourself to others – and withdrawals – opening yourself to receiving gifts from others. She readily admits motherhood gave her an entirely new perspective here. Her personal experiences and 24-year career in financial services led her to write this blog with moms in mind. Money can evoke a range of emotions for moms, and Lisa strives here to help moms take control of their financial future.
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Life In Balance

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